Images attributed to the second Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) J-31 prototype suggest that the unit is imminently ready to conduct its maiden test flight.
Reports from Chinese analysts surrounding the nearing completion of the second prototype have been mounting since Air Show China 2016, which took place in Zhuhai in November. British aviation journalist Alan Warnes reported that the second J-31 prototype would fly in December.
Specific details of the aircraft, such as its turbofan engines and onboard systems, are not yet known.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) began its concerted marketing push for the J-31 (i.e. FC-31) during the 2015 Dubai Air Show. At that time, AVIC promised to refine the J-31 technology demonstrator with numerous design improvements to the airframe.
The production-ready FC-31 will also utilize an active electronically-scanned array (AESA) radar, helmet-mounted display and sight (HMD/S) system, infrared search and track (IRST), integrated electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), and single display-panel cockpit (with a side-mounted flight-control stick).
The FC-31 is to have capable load-out options as well, such as the capacity to internally carry six medium-range air-to-air missiles (with another six externally) or four 500 kg guided-bombs internally, among other possible configurations using the fighter’s internal and external hardpoints (IHS Jane’s).
At the 2015 Dubai Air Show, AVIC stated that the FC-31 will have a maximum take-off weight of 24,947 kg, payload capacity of almost 8,000 kg, service ceiling of 16,000 metres, and top speed of Mach 1.8. It will have a combat radius of 1,200 km.
Notes & Comments:
AVIC is marketing the FC-31 principally for export, though it hopes to secure domestic orders from the People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) or People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
Pakistan has been pegged as a strong candidate for the FC-31, but the fighter could see traction in other countries as well, especially since the fifth-generation fighter market has no other serviceable or near-serviceable options beyond the Lockheed Martin F-35 and Sukhoi T-50.
The production-ready FC-31 is expected to fly in 2019. If ordered in time, it could reach initial operational capability by 2022 and full operational capability by 2024.
Pakistan has no other option than to go for J-31FGFA. Because Pakistan has no other platform in the pipe line. The only option in the pipe line is JF-17 Block 3. while India has inked the deal for Rafale and also investing in Pak FA T-50. So J-31 is the only available platform to go for.
Amazing….FC-31 would be a good option for Pakistan but Pakistan should also consider Russian MIG-35 as it is also an alternate of F-16.
brother i would love pakistan to have russian jets, do you think russia will sell pakistan mig-35, specially when india is going ahead with super -30 upgrades for su-30mki, pak-fa, akula submarine ,s-400, Admiral Grigorovich frigates,T-90MS TANKS and ka-226 helicopters…
even if russia wants to sell to pakistan considering that india’s diplomatic efforts fail miserably then also Pakistan would not get them becase india will buy something that is of more value than that deal. Even though PAF is a very good force , Indian Armed forces have the financial backing and have the liberty to spend huge amounts to bring about a huge deal with russia only to block any sale to PAF.
So i guess a russian fighter in PAF is and will never be a possibility. Russia can start good economic relations and military to military exchange but strategic defence partnership only with Indiacause India and to some extent China keep russia’s defence industry running
Great, dear brother, you may get your wish and see Mig-35 or Su-35 in PAF colours soon. India keeps counting weapons to reassure itself. As if all wars historically were fought and won purely by numbers. India is actually very worried that Pakistan may be approved to buy Su-35. All your money spent (thanks for the list) and diplomatic shenanigans could not stop hundreds of engines for JF17 and our Mi-35 buys. Russia is annoyed with you guys for jumping into the Americans lap and there will be fallout. You are not that special or clever that you can fool both America and Russia at the same time. We need to make representations to Putin as I believe we are this week!
I think Russia will definitely sell MIG-35’s to Pakistan but its up to Pakistan if it wants to buy from Russia or not
Chinese are known for surprises and secrecy, considering PAF anxiousness to get a latest platform to counter IAF latest acquisitions, one should expect that if the new prototype is acceptable to PAK then hopefully we may see it’s production quite earlier than timeline given above.
It may form a capable combo with JF17 block-iii to counter IAF and other challenges with existing F16s fleet may act as gap filler or second tier jet along with modernized previous version JF17s.